Resources

Transformation Central Texas STEM Center strives to improve student achievement outcomes in math and science as determined by state and national standards for all students. As such, Transformation Central is charged with disseminating information and resources to support implementation of quality STEM initiatives.

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Transitioning from MS to HS in STEM Academy

The differences between middle school and high school are vast. Students often have difficulty adjusting to a new, larger environment. The new teachers demand more from them, both in quantity and quality of work, and especially in a STEM environment. Students often come unmoored in the process. While most high schools focus primarily on college and career readiness, the 9th grade is when students start to decline in grades and attendance. Successful transition into higher education begins with the transition into high school. In order to encourage success through the grades, campuses need to establish a transition system to help 8th graders become successful freshmen. This is included in Benchmark 3 of the T-STEM blueprint, which follows at the conclusion of this short paper.

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Creating and Implementing a 3–5 Year Plan

A campus or district without a plan for the future is significantly hindered in improving student achievement. It is impossible to respond in a targeted manner to the needs and changes at all levels of a district over time. Concentrated efforts with a mind toward improving student achievement have are critical to effecting cultural change. A 3–5 year plan is an important component for ensuring significant long-term success at all levels. The plan as well should be supported by an Annual Action Plan (AAP), as delineated in benchmarks 1, 4, and 7 of the T-STEM Blueprint. A guide to creating an AAP according to the T-STEM Blueprint follows in the second half of this short paper.

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Creating a Plan to Teach 21st Century Skills

The 21st century skills have certainly been around in schools longer than the 21st century. But the teaching of them has largely been an accident. With evidence that colleges and businesses see a lack of these skills and the knowledge that the use of these skills is engaging to students, creating a specific plan for teaching them is a powerful way of improving student outcomes within schools and beyond.

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Effective PD That Lasts

Professional development (PD) can take many forms. Often it appears as a workshop or short-term course. The process often ends there, leaving teachers and other school leaders to their own discretion as to how to implement what they have learned. This untethered process rarely translates to student achievement. Effective professional development demands more than simple information. In order to create real and effective results at the district, campus, and the level of an individual teacher, a plan that goes beyond the event is required.

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STEM Endorsement Model: SystemsGo

The SystemsGo program is one example of how schools are providing a coherent sequence of courses for the STEM endorsement. The SystemsGo mission is to enhance education for better workforce development; and to ignite tomorrow’s innovators while developing the most valued engineering and manufacturing workforce to compete in the global market. This four-year, sequenced, STEM curricula meets Career and Tech Ed (CTE) course TEKS and HB-5 requirements and receives CTE funding. Curricula covers introductions to the R&D industry and innovation; mechanical drafting/CAD for working drawings capture; and applied physics of main energy systems - mechanical, electrical, thermal, fluid - through design, build, and test projects.

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